CASTRIES, St. Lucia – Revelers took to the streets here on Monday following a two-year hiatus, as St. Lucians participated in Carnival activities since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed 385 people and infected 27, 464 others since March 2020.
Prime Minister Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, in a statement on his Facebook page, urged to be safe and responsible while health authorities reminded the public to take care of their sexual health during the two-day carnival festivities.
“Be responsible. Be safe. Have fun,” Pierre said, adding that as is customary, he would be viewing and enjoying the Parade of the Bands from the side-lines.
“After a two-year hiatus and months of planning, today, thousands of carnival revelers will play their mas. Please have a safe and enjoyable masquerade,” Pierre wrote, expressing gratitude to Carnival band owners, entertainers, promoters, stakeholders, and essential services personnel, for contributing to the industry’s growth.
“We will continue to support you,” Pierre said.
Meanwhile, Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health’s Infectious Disease Unit, Dr. Gail Gajadhar, said during the Carnival season, people are more likely to become impetuous and urged the public to be prepared regardless of the circumstances.
“Carnival is a time when we find people are uninhibited, meaning they are more likely to do things they would not have done in other situations. There are different reasons for that, for example, alcohol use. Any substance that alters feelings and moods can affect one’s ability to make sound decisions.
“I encourage persons to be prepared and carry protection. If you don’t know your partner, ensure that you have protection so that if you find yourself in an unexpected situation you are prepared. Safe sex does not apply only to carnival festivities. It applies 365 days a year, and ideally you’re practicing safe sex because you don’t want to acquire any unwanted sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis.”
Dr. Gajadhar said condoms are readily available, free, easy to carry and should be part of one’s safety package for the Carnival.